Friday, September 4, 2009

RE-CAP: Dolphins vs. Saints

That was the great play made by Sean Smith, which, coupled with the other great INT he made in the pre-season, will make him a known commodity come opening day of the regular season.  However, it does not make him the clear-cut starter.  In all likelihood, he probably will start because of the fact he has played mostly mistake-free football (had a couple of bad plays vs Tampa Bay, but no penalties, and two INTs in the red zone is massive), but Vontae Davis also has been sure-footed in practice.  For the record, Vontae Davis suffered a mild knee injury during the game last night and did not return to the game afterwards.  He did seem to be in good spirits though and I suspect it's probably a sprained MCL at worse and he could be back in time for game 1.  If it's a slight tear, he could be out for a couple of weeks.  In any event, I suspect Smith and Davis to continue to battle it out throughout the season.  This position battle may not be decided in full until 2010.

Ok, with that said, I think the wide receiver battle is about to come to a close with Greg Camarillo being named the starter opposite Tedd Ginn, Jr.  The reason I say this is because of two things.  Prec-cursor to these 3 things is that I consider Camarillo, Hartline and Bess were completely even heading into last night's game.  First, the catch.  The rope-a-dope catch by Camarillo in the first quarter was textbook football artistry.  I don't think any other receiver would've made that catch last night.  And while Hartline has made big catches of his own in the pre-season, the rapport between Pennington and Camarillo means Chad would be more confident throwing a ball like that with Greg in there.  Secondly, just think of the story.  Camarillo has sort of taken a backseat in the media lately, but if named the starter, he would instantly become 'the guy who battled back from serious injury to regain the starting role'.  He would be in contention for the NFL award given to the Comeback Player of the Year.  And this would make him a cult-hero for Dolfans, and put more fans in the seats.  

It would also allow Brian Hartline and Bess to focus more on special teams, which, let's face it, was our weakest unit last night.

There were times that our offense looked brilliant.  Pennington stretched out a drive that barely covered any ground, resulting in a long field goal from Dan Carpenter, but there were some good moments.  Davone Bess working the sidelines and moving the ball 5 yards at a time.  The use of Ronnie Brown as a receiver also moved the ball 5 yards at a time. A couple of longer strikes to Camarillo (one was dropped due to being under-thrown).  I also liked the way they handed off to Polite on longer downs, in order to get more run-reps for the o-line without risking injury to Brown.  The Dolphins seem intent on being able to run the ball behind Jake Long and Justin Smiley, as their inside runs have been predominantly to the left this pre-season.

Things picked up even more when Chad Henne came in.  His first drive he went 6 for 6 for 47 yards, and get this, all six passes were to different receivers (Camarillo, Bess, Polite, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs, and Ginn) and the drive was capped off by a Cobbs 6 yd run for TD.  Patrick Cobbs got a lot more work running the ball this week and was impressive thanks to his speed and initial blocking..

Things got a little dull once the reserves came in, with Pat White throwing some of the worst passes I've seen in a long time.  I joked about them hitting Parcells' golf cart, but the truth is, those passes DID remind me of what so many beat-writers wrote during OTAs.  There was one particularly impressive overthrow of a wide open receiver - White scrambled to the left, was immediately wrapped up, and falling to the ground, heaved one well past the receiver who was 15 yards downfield.  Had the Saints safety been in position, it would've been an INT gift-wrapped for presentation.  So White showed some arm-strength, but his decision-making is not there yet.  As for accuracy, he had another throw that was a good ten yards overthrown.  It might've been the wind...oh wait...nevermind.  
Lex Hilliard had another average game.  On one play he got the ball on an end-around and did his best Ernest Wilford impression, taking about an hour to get outside the tackles and was immediately wrapped up for no gain.  On the very next play, Patrick Cobbs showed Chris Williams'esque speed, bursting up the sidelines for a 25 yd gain.

Overall, I didn't notice a lot of the 'bubble' players.  
  • William Kershaw made a couple of loud popping tackles, but seemed out of position for much of his playing time. 
  • Quentin Moses was in position, but often a step behind another player, not being aggressive enough at the point of attack.  
  • Andrew Gardner was really bad, but got loads of reps at left tackle.  I did not see any of the 'quick feet' everyone praises him for.  He just looked stiff out there.  He also had a false start penalty.
  • Charlie Anderson made some plays on defense, but his umpteenth penalty on a kickoff return HAS to be the end of the road for him.  If you total up his penalty yardage and subtract it from his sack yardage, I think you'll agree with me.  
  • Both Joey Haynos and John Nalbone were targeted only once and both failed to reel in the catch.  But Haynos made some big blocks, helping the running game to rack up 139 yards.
  • Nate Jones was AWFUL and he knows it.  He lost position, then slipped and fell (a re-occuring issue if you watch tape from 2008) and THEN missed the tackle (all on the same play), allowing a big gain by the Saints.  On New Orleans only score of the game, it was Jones who let Roman Harper slide by for a 55-yd punt return for a touchdown.
  • On the other hand, Jason Allen had a good game, with three tackles, 2 passes defensed, and he was in position for several other tackles if the first tackler had missed.  In fact, it was he who saved a touchdown on the first whiffed tackle by Nate Jones.  The punt coverage tackle, where he pushed back his blocker into a collision with the returner was the biggest highlight.
Okay, now for the 5 things I was looking for heading into the game:
  1. William Kershaw probably did manage to steal the 53rd roster spot with his 7 tackle, 1 sack performance, but the numbers could be a bit deceiving.  For starters, Joey Harrington looked like a deer caught in the headlights all game, and a couple of his sacks were due to him holding onto the ball for far too long.  At least half of Kershaw's tackles were 10 or more yards downfield.  Still, he did not play as long as I thought he would, so the production is still impressive.
  2. Staying upright.  The Dolphins only took 2 sacks in this game, one with Pennington in there and one with Henne in there.  Sure, Pat White should've taken the sack on the play I mentioned above, but for the most part the QBs were far more patient.  Henne especially made a huge improvement over his prior outing.
  3. Brandon London vs Patrick Turner.  Well, both were targeted 3 times and both caught one pass each for about 6 yards.  Turner was noticeable on run blocking and London's catch was big move-the-chains moment.  But neither one showed up on special teams.
  4. Of the players mentioned, none had a noticeable presence in the game. 
  5. Pennington seemed cool and collective.  He does have one of the smoother play-action moves in the NFL and showed it off a couple of times.  On his one sack there was a collapse of the pocket, Pennington stepped up and the New Orleans d-line made a great play.  There was no panic there.
Finally, cornerback Will Billingsley was dressed but didn't play.  This could be just because the coaches wanted more tape on Jason Allen who wasn't exactly racking up the play counts in the prior games.  In any event, the poor play of Nate Jones (loose coverage, missed tackles), and Joey Thomas (missed tackles, penalties) means that Billingsley may not be all lost.  However, if I were a gambling man, I'd put some money on Miami waiving all three and picking up a cheap veteran CB off of waivers.

24 comments:

  1. That was an insane catch by Smith!

    I'd be very pleased to see Camarillo as the other starting WR & Bess in the slot.  To me Camarillo is already a cult hero & it started when he made that catch against the Ravens to avoid an 0-16 season.

    I'm not that worried about White since he's our third string QB so the chances of him being our starter are not that great.  As for how he will throw out of the Wildcat, I'd prefer if he didn't but I think that opposing defenses will have to be concerned & sometimes confused about whether or not he "might throw" the ball.

    I'd be surprised if we cut Nate Jones since he's our best blitzing CB & he had three sacks last year but hey, what the hell do I know...

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  2. ...Ginn went completely into the dumpster for me last night ...last year I remember watching him avoid a block that would have cut a teammate loose ...last night he did the very same thing again and cost us at least an additional ten yards ...I don't care if he's our "best" receiver, he is NOT our best WR and needs to be benched until he proves he understands that he's part of a team and has to block as well as catch.

    ...Anderson has to be gone ...so too with London

    ...Henne is not the future, not unless we want to be a permanent 8-8 team ...Penne showed an arm last night ...expect that will be a "surprise" in Atlanta

    ...much as you said, the results on the bubble players was mixed to say the least ...I don't think any cut will surprise me at this point but still expect Sparano to favor youth when most everything else is comparable.

    ...the OL has been a disappointment so far ...JT ought to be holding post practice one-on-ones with Long ...and they keep trying to run behind Smiley and Grove and so far, they're not making any holes there ...even against a 2nd string defense.

    ...the SS interception was a thing of beauty and should seal him as starter ...poser my ass!

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  3. Yes I suspect youth *will* win out.
    One correction though, that was New Orleans' starters playing up front last
    night. I thought we ran well until our scrubs came in. Hilliard didn't
    have anywhere to go. But Ricky and Ronnie averaged nearly 6 yards a carry
    running up the middle.
    I didn't see the Ginn play I'll look for it later.

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  4. Good day to you tin. ty for streaming the game was tring to get in on the live chat last night but for some reason everytime i tried to create a user id it said it was full.Good write up on the game could have said it any better. ANy updates on vontae?

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  5. Anderson was a part of 3 sacks,and Henne IS the future,IMHO!!!

    I did some of my 1st half obvious observations @ the ""ALMOST FORGOT"" thread...
    Don't make me cut/paste,you'll regret it,LOL!!

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  6. Wish I could see WHP's blown-up version of his avatar!!

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  7. the Ginn non-block was a dumpoff to the left to Bess, ginn was out in front "blocking". He actually shoved his guy in the back into Bess once he got by him lol 

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  8. TIN,WHYYYY has the ""ALL COMMENT's"" section NOT been working for 2 wks ??? MY FAV(for not missing a post)!!

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  9. based on what i was looking for, you streaming the game and some good chat, i got everything i wanted out of the last preseason game.  just wanted to say great job again tin.  sure how you do that during the regular season (but with the chat and game side by not that i am complaining :))

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  10.  <span><span>13kvFINS</span><img></img></span> <span>Some of the more obvious O play's of note that took place,upon 1st rewatch, 
    and times to pay extra attention during,for those that didn't see live.. 
    1st qtr,(all yrdgs are or so).. 
     
    12:06 GREATTT CP pass/catch GC 20 yrds or so.. 
    11:04 Howbout that LPolite pass reception 
    10:16 GREATTT CP pass/diving catch DBess 7yrds 
    9:40  Whifffed block attempt(don't wanna bring-out the vultures).. 
    4:20 UBELIEVABLEY GREATTT coverage/one handed endzone int SSMITHHHHHH!!! 
    2:52 EXPLOSIVE RW sweep left 11 yrds 
    1:15 Nice CP pass/catch DBess inside slant 13 yrds 
    :25 nice CP 30 yrd pass just missed by diving GC 
     
    IMPRESSIVE 1st team 1st qtr,(BOTH sides of ball)..READY for ATL!!</span>
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    <div><img></img> <span><span>13kvFINS</span><img></img></span> <span>13:36 JT/CAnderson sack(announcer said 50 Walden)twas 56!!!</span></div>
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    <div><img></img> <span><span>13kvFINS</span><img></img></span> <span>10:30 serious RB stiff arm for an extra 6 yrds</span></div>
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    <div><img></img> <span><span>13kvFINS</span><img></img></span> <span>10:10 nice out pass from CH to DBess for 7 yacs</span></div>
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    <div><img></img> <span><span>13kvFINS</span><img></img></span> <span>8:45 excellent out to RW for 10 yacs(all RW)!!</span></div>
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  11.  <span style="color: #476cb8;"><span style="cursor: pointer;">13kvFINS</span><img src="http://js-kit.com/images/icon10-external-url.png"/></span> <span>Some of the more obvious O play's of note that took place,upon 1st rewatch, 
    and times to pay extra attention during,for those that didn't see live.. 
    1st qtr,(all yrdgs are or so).. 
     
    12:06 GREATTT CP pass/catch GC 20 yrds or so.. 
    11:04 Howbout that LPolite pass reception 
    10:16 GREATTT CP pass/diving catch DBess 7yrds 
    9:40  Whifffed block attempt(don't wanna bring-out the vultures).. 
    4:20 UBELIEVABLEY GREATTT coverage/one handed endzone int SSMITHHHHHH!!! 
    2:52 EXPLOSIVE RW sweep left 11 yrds 
    1:15 Nice CP pass/catch DBess inside slant 13 yrds 
    :25 nice CP 30 yrd pass just missed by diving GC 
     
    IMPRESSIVE 1st team 1st qtr,(BOTH sides of ball)..READY for ATL!!</span>


    <span>THERE's MUCH More @"almost forgot",but couldn't get it in w'out a bunch of BS!!</span>

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  12.  <span style="color: #476cb8;"><span style="cursor: pointer;">13kvFINS</span><img src="http://js-kit.com/images/icon10-external-url.png"/></span> <span>CRAPPPP,gotta cut 13,and (hope some make it back to the PS)!!  TOUGH final few decisions !!! 
     
    I can only figure out 11,and the last TWO are very tough,(does Kershaw actually trump my boy WALDEN), 
    and/or Moses?? 
    Or do we take a chance of not gettin him back to the PS?? 
     
    MY cut list 
    JThomas 
    WBillingsly 
    CBryan 
    RWright 
    NGarner 
    RBaker 
    MLewis 
    JRobinson 
    JDFolsom 
    JNalbone 
    QMoses ??(MROTH) 
     
    LHilliard ?? 
    BLondon ?? 
     
    (WKershaw or MY BOYYY WALDEN)OUCHHHHH but I can see the possibility.. 
    (LHilliard or BLondon)OUCHHHH same as above...(ORR,do we dare go w'only 8 OL)?? 
     
    To make my 13 official,I'll cut 
    London(there goes my towering 3headed RZ threat hopes),instead of Kershaw and 
    Hilliard instead of WALDEN...  
     
    As of late,I'd Hate to let Moses go tooo,(like'em all alot)!!! 
     
    IF NOT the above,then BYE BYE JA,or NJones....   :(        </span>

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  13. I thought the play developed slower than TG anticipated,(he actually had good outside position),
    had Bess/the pass been there 1 second sooner... Slight miscalculation,that almost got DB injured..

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  14. Tin I'm going to disagree with you on the running game in the first half mostly.  I saw nothing that makes me think we are any better than last year.  There was no movement nor holes up front from the starters in particular the 3 inside guys.  All the hype about Thomas being back didn't make a hill of beans difference, it was the same old story.   I see us looking for  offensive lineman for the PS when teams make their cuts this weekend.

    What I did see was much like last year the Dolphins took the game over in the last quarter.  I don't know how they do that, but like last year if they continue to do that, the schedule won't mean that much.  Even with the holes we have in personell this is beginning to look like a team that refuses to lose.  They are learning how to win, which is a continuation from last year.  This is the making of a very good team.  Maybe not the best players yet, but a good football team non the less.

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  15. ...the penalty on Anderson was his swan song ...every LB was part of some sack, it was a fins sackfest ...I actually felt sorry for Harrington after a while.

    ...look at Henne's total preseason record 13kv ...its lousy, especially against 1st team defenses ...his passer rating is in the toilet ...its so bad that Beck is god compared to Henne ...this is Henne's 2nd year as a pro ...he may be a serviceable QB, only time will tell, but he's not the future of this team imnsho.

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  16. ...amen ...I watched the stream again ...and agree that it would be cool if the chat could be side barred.

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  17. ...loud raucus applause :)

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  18. I was going to do it that way, but due to the host site being down I
    scratched it. It came back on line during halftime but it was too late to
    move everyone over at that point.

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  19. ...I thougt Bryan had a pretty good game last night but have to give JA to tin, he definitely makes a difference on ST ...shame he can't play corner consistently.

    ...still don't think Hilliard makes the cut ...no way they go w/8OL, I still think 10

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  20. The Knight who says Ni!September 4, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    That really was a great play by Smith. You think his height and range with those long arms will come in handy matching up with the likes of Randy Moss? I'd say so. : )

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  21. The Knight who says Ni!September 4, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    I'd say 9 OL. I don't think we're 10 deep on the OL. You don't keep players because of numbers, you keep the best players. Obviously you need a certain amount at every position, but you don't keep more at one position just because.

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  22. Tin:  I am a retired engineer and have spent a lot of time last year and this year following the Dolphins closely .  I have lived in Palm Beach County since 1961 so I have been a Dolphin since they started. I devised a Defensive Play Accounting System this year to evaluate all defensive players.  I totaled all the tackles that each player made and found out what % of the total defensive team tackles each player accounted for.  I also did the tackles for the entire defensive team by D-Line, LBs, CBs,Safeties and for the Front-7, ILBs and for the total Backfield.

      In addition, a Suplimented Defensive Play (SDP) weighted system was added depending on what kind of play it was.The SDP was added tothe  the Total Tackel data.  The weighted DSP number included the data supplied by the NFL. Typhical data included sacks, Pass Defended, INT, FF, FR, and TDs.  Each stat data was given a number that was weighted depending on how benifitial the stat was to the team.  I started with 1 for each tackel and 1 for each Pd.  I esclated the weighted number for more benifical stats all the way up to 5 for a TD.  I did the same thing for the SDP that I did for the Total Tackels and the %TTs.   The Summary for each player , the individual team area % and for the Total Defensive Team % was determined by simply adding the TT % to the SDP % for what I called the % Defensive Play (%DP).
    The system was quite revealing for all players and it included the Special Teams Tackels but did not included the Penalities for each player to help you show the defference in the Charlie Anderson net yardage you mentioned in this article.
    Enjoy following your blog about the Dolphins but, the bashing of one bloger to another seems not nesseary and distracts from your blog.  I have only posted once (last year) when I called you a Candy A$$ for not lending supporting encouragement to the Dolphin team players in your fearless perditions before each game.  That was after the third team game.  I continued to follow your blog but did not say anything about your prediction for the NE game where the Wildcat was introduced.  I was too happy we socked it to the Pats. This was my first post since then.  Keep up the good work.

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  23. Samdolphin, this site was started in February 2009, and I'm not sure which
    blogger I bashed? Also, I'm sorry but you must have me mixed up with
    someone else as I never bashed on the Dolphins players before games either.
    The only football players I've ever come close to bashing on here (well
    after the time-line you're referring to) are John Beck and Brian Cushing. I
    have at times referred to a player's individual game performance as 'awful'
    but that's a judgment based on his play.
    But in any event. I was not blogging last year, and I have not called out
    any other bloggers here. The truth is, I rarely read any other bloggers.
    But then you say 'keep up the good work' which just confuses me more. ;)

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